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Living up to the hype January 28, 2010

Posted by Galaxy in Uncategorized.
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source: apple.com

I’m not usually a tech geek. Having the latest gadget, or the very newest version of some computer hardware or software isn’t one of my priorities. Somehow, though, the build up to the release of what we now know is Apple’s iPad wormed its way into my brain to the point where I was actually counting down the days to the announcement, and hopped onto the live blogs on cnet.com and nytimes.com during the big event. I even checked out the Twitter feed for #ipad to see how people were reacting to this brand new product.

A big part of my interest had to do with the buzz about the new tablet computer being a “Kindle Killer” and a huge step forward for e-readers. Here’s what Steve Jobs’ had to say about the e-reader feature of the iPad (from cnet’s live blog):

10:53 a.m.: Jobs is back. He puts a picture of the Kindle on screen. “Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a bit further.”

The new app is called iBooks.

10:54 a.m.: You can choose books from what looks like an actual bookshelf. On the upper left is a button that leads to the iBook Store. Can download books right to the iPad. [Five] major publishers (Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, MacMillan, and Hachette) are on the bookstore starting this afternoon.

Now we’re getting a demo of the books app.

10:55 a.m.: The user interface is exactly like iTunes or the App Store.

10:56 a.m.: To read a book, you tap on it and it opens to be read via portrait or landscape. Tap anywhere on the right to flip forward in pages, tap on the left to go back. You can also pick up a page and lift it by dragging your finger right to left.

10:57 a.m.: A scroll bar on the bottom shows your progress through the book and what page you’re on.

You can also change font and size if you want.

10:58 a.m.: It uses the ePub format. Not just popular books, but textbooks are coming as well.

But he moves on quickly without giving any detail about textbooks.

My initial reaction: This is bad for us. Apple (and the participating publishers) are bypassing traditional bookstores. By making it so very easy to purchase e-books from the iBookstore, Apple makes it incredibly inconvenient to go to an independent bookstore’s website to purchase e-books.

On the other hand, there is good news here: the ePub format that the iPad will use is an open source format, meaning that it is not proprietary; you can download a book in the ePub format and access it on any compatible e-reader software, not just the iPad. [I hope this will be the case–I could be wrong.] And we’ve already got e-books in the ePub format available on our website. So, if people are willing to make the effort of going online to visit our website (which is possible, with the iPad’s wireless capabilities), then they can easily purchase books to read on their new device.

Where people buy their books for their iPad might be irrelevant, however, depending on whether people actually buy the iPad, and if they then use it as an e-reader. Going against it is the fact that it uses a traditional computer screen, rather than the eInk technology (used by e-readers like the Kindle or the Sony Reader) that makes reading on a screen easier on the eyes. Going for it is the fact that it uses a traditional computer screen that allows publishers to use color and opens a world of possibilities to authors and publishers in the way of interactive content (videos, hyperlinked text, and so forth). The backlit screen, while it can be tiring to read from, allows you to read in the dark. Plus, there’s the whole touch screen aspect, which is undeniably awesome, as anyone with an ounce of geek sense will tell you.

So, ultimately, I don’t see the iPad being being the e-reader game changer that was predicted, but it is one of the more tantalizingly futuristic gadgets created for general use, and if someone (Hi, Steve Jobs!) wanted to just give me one to play with, well, I wouldn’t turn it down.

For more on the iPad, good and bad:

LA Times has several articles discussing various aspects of the iPad (including its unfortunate name)

Spend days wading through the articles, OpEd pieces, and videos at cnet.

More at engadget

New York Times

TeleRead

Flavorwire

And…I’m done. Feel free to Google “iPad” for over 3 million results!

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Comments»

1. john - January 29, 2010

Why i don’t want a iPad :
iPad is so ugly !
iPad doesn’t support flash !
iPad doesn’t have camera !
iPad doesn’t support multitasking !
iPad have a 4/3 screen…

Galaxy - January 29, 2010

These certainly seem to be among the top reasons many people aren’t jumping on Apple’s bandwagon for this ride. I happen to think the iPad looks very sleek, but no multitasking is a big drawback for a device that wants to act like a laptop alternative.

2. Cassandra Brush - February 2, 2010

Linda — You might get a kick out of this little farce on the iPad:

– Cass

Galaxy - February 2, 2010

Hehe – thanks! I’d never seen this before, but I think Apple has made it an instant classic.


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